Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: March 31, 2010


“Everyone deserves health care”

That’s been the starting position for everyone who supported the health care reform monstrosity that just came out of Washington DC.  It’s stated in various ways, such as health care being a “right”, but the axiom is always that in our society everyone should have health care, or as a practical matter, health insurance.

It sounds so compassionate and decent doesn’t it? But that little phrase packs in some nasty principles.

It’s one thing to say that you deserve to control your own life, or property or income.    That’s pretty uncontroversial.  But when you say, “I have a right to have health care–or a pension, or a home–provided for me even if I can’t afford it”, then what you’re really saying is that I have an obligation to provide you with those things.  Whether I wish to provide them to you, or whether it causes me some degree of privation, is irrelevant.  To say that you–or anyone else–has a right to something I must provide is to say that you have an irrevocable claim on my life, labor or property.  I owe you.

No matter how you try to gussy it up, or dress it in compassion, the fact is that by claiming that such an obligation, you place me in indentured servitude.  My wishes are irrelevant.

Indeed, it’s not even indentured servitude.  At least in an indenture, I have to agree to provide you with my labor for some period, after which I am manumitted.  In actuality, by claiming such an obligation on me that I cannot evade, you make me, to some degree, your serf.  You are the laird of the manor, and I have my obligation of labor days to provide you.

Now, perhaps I should be willing to provide you with health insurance.  Perhaps that is the moral and/or ethical course of action I should undertake.  But that, too, is irrelevant.  By demanding it, and by forcing me to provide you with a good or service by law, you not only ignore my conception of morality, you impose your morality on me.  Whether I agree with your morality is not even a consideration for you.  You have a claim,you say, so your morality trumps mine.

Moreover, once you’ve accepted that it’s perfectly all right to impose a form of servitude on me, in order that I might provide you with a good, what’s your limiting principle?  If you may impose an obligation on me to provide a part of my income or property in order to procure a good for yourself, why can’t you simply take all of it?  After all, you’ve already signed on to imposing slavery in principle, because you’ve decided that you can impose an obligation on me against my will.  Why stop  at serfdom?

Slavery, to one degree or another, is, of course, the inevitable outcome of any attempt to enforce some sense of cosmic justice on life, and the lives of your fellow men.  Because there is no such thing as cosmic justice.  Nor is there any general agreement on what cosmic justice should be.  So, your attempt to impose it on others invariably must be done by force, either through the majesty of the law, or with a knife to the throat.

Which is often the same thing.

So, what you are really saying when you claim that “Everyone deserves health care,” is, “I have the right to enslave you, in whole or in part, in order to require you provide health care to me.”  When you strip the high-sounding phrases to the principles, it doesn’t sound nearly so moral and compassionate, does it?

Oh, and by the way, it does no good to tell me that I also have the same claim on others, and can force someone else to provide me with health care, too.  Because all you’re really telling me is that I can become a slavemaster, too.  The fact that I don’t care to be a slavemaster, or that I find it morally abhorrent, is utterly irrelevant to you.  Again, your morality trumps mine.

Because, after all, if you can get everyone else to join you in your crime–indeed, to glory in it–who will condemn you?

Discuss amongst yourselves.


Precarious Guam

This is a congressman grilling the CNO about future plans for stationing military personnel on the Island of Guam.  The Congressman is deeply concerned with consequences of putting too many people on the island, because…well…you have to see for yourself.  The money quote starts at 1:16 into the clip.

And there you go.  These are our “leaders”.  No doubt this is the same intellectual heft and clarity of thought they brought to health care reform.  And will bring to Cap & Trade, Immigration Reform, etc.

Think about that for a while.


NASA concludes its temperature data worse than CRU’s

Another brick falls from the crumbling facade of “climate science” in support of AGW:

E-mail messages obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that NASA concluded that its own climate findings were inferior to those maintained by both the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) — the scandalized source of the leaked Climate-gate e-mails — and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center.

The e-mails from 2007 reveal that when a USA Today reporter asked if NASA’s data “was more accurate” than other climate-change data sets, NASA’s Dr. Reto A. Ruedy replied with an unequivocal no. He said “the National Climatic Data Center’s procedure of only using the best stations is more accurate,” admitting that some of his own procedures led to less accurate readings.

“My recommendation to you is to continue using NCDC’s data for the U.S. means and [East Anglia] data for the global means,” Ruedy told the reporter.

And we all know the story about East Anglia’s CRU data. That’s a pretty damning admission by NASA. I think it should be fairly clear to anyone who isn’t a warmist zealot that there are multiple documented reasons to now doubt the “science” that supports the claim – and that’s all it is at this point, having never really been peer reviewed – that the globe is warming and man is the reason. The usual disclaimer is in order – the globe may very well be warming but it may just as easily be the result of natural cycles than man. And NASA and CRU do the AGW side no favors with their admittedly inaccurate and fudged data sets. NASA, at least, seems to understand the problem:

In an updated analysis of the surface temperature data released on March 19, NASA adjusted the raw temperature station data to account for inaccurate readings caused by heat-absorbing paved surfaces and buildings in a slightly different way. NASA determines which stations are urban with nighttime satellite photos, looking for stations near light sources as seen from space.

Of course, this doesn’t solve problems with NASA’s data, as the newest paper admits: “Much higher resolution would be needed to check for local problems with the placement of thermometers relative to possible building obstructions,” a problem repeatedly underscored by meteorologist Anthony Watts on his SurfaceStations.org Web site. Last month, Watts told FoxNews.com that “90 percent of them don’t meet [the government's] old, simple rule called the ’100-foot rule’ for keeping thermometers 100 feet or more from biasing influence. Ninety percent of them failed that, and we’ve got documentation.”

In other related news, IPCC chief and railroad engineer Rajendra Pachauri has refused to resign, but is saying he plans to change his behavior:

He admitted it had been a mistake to give the impression, in many interviews, that he was advocating specific actions to cut emissions. Last year, he called for higher taxes on aviation and motoring, said people should eat less meat, and proposed that hotel rooms should have electricity meters to charge people extra for using air conditioning.

Speaking in London yesterday, he said he would focus in future on presenting the science on climate change rather than advocating policies.

“I will try to clarify that I’m not prescribing anything as a solution. Maybe I should be more careful [in media interviews] in laying down certain riders. One learns from that and I’m learning.”

Of course it is the “science” that is under fire and the IPCC report has been found to contain claims from non-scientific articles which were presented as science. Glacier melting and rainforest destruction claims both were found to be unsubstantiated scientifically. As noted above Pachauri has claimed people should eat less meat to lessen man’s effect on the climate. That too has been called into question:

In a presentation before the 239th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California said the misleading claims emanate from a 2006 U.N. report, which said that livestock was “responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions,” describing the figure as “a larger share than transportation.”

According to Mitloehner, the claim is inaccurate because the numbers for livestock were calculated differently from the transport figures.

In the report, the livestock emissions included gases produced by growing animal feed; animals’ digestive emissions; and processing meat and milk into foods. But the transportation analysis factored in only emissions from fossil fuels burned while driving, and not all other transport-lifecycle related factors.

“This lopsided analysis is a classical apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue,” he said.

[...]

“We certainly can reduce our greenhouse gas production, but not by consuming less meat and milk,’ he told the American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco yesterday, reported The Daily Mail.

All of this has certainly had an effect. For instance, look at Germany:

Germans citizens are rapidly losing faith in global warming following the Climate-gate scandals, according to a new report in Der Spiegel.

The report indicates that just 42 percent of Germans are worried about global warming, down substantially from the 62 percent that expressed concern with the state of the environment in 2006.

German news site The Local analyzed the results from the poll, conducted by polling company Infratest for the German newsmagazine. Many people have little faith in the information and prognosis of climate researchers, The Local explained, with a third questioned in the survey not giving them much credence.

This is thought to be largely due to mistakes and exaggerations recently discovered in a report of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the site.

Of course the last to understand how shoddy the science is seems to be our politicians.

Today, the President gives a speech on energy issues, focusing on expanded offshore oil and gas drilling, which has broad backing as one way to boost domestic energy production.

This is all part of an effort by the White House to stir more support for the work of three Senators, John Kerry (D-MA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who have been trying to put together what might best be described as a “grand compromise” on energy issues.

The reason that a different legislative plan of action was needed on energy was because the original drive for a Cap and Trade bill simply isn’t going anywhere in the Senate.

If President Obama is going to get an energy bill through the Congress, then it will have to be something that allows for more offshore energy exploration, more nuclear energy initiatives, and also some efforts to clamp down on carbon emissions that produce greenhouse gases.

You could call it Cap and Trade Lite, framed as an energy bill.

Of course, the off-shore drilling expansion is an attempt to draw that 60th vote from among Republicans (not that this administration wouldn’t slow walk any execution of that expansion as they’re doing now in the interior of the US). And, of course, there’s Lindsey Graham to oblige. The good news is a few Democrats are adamantly against such an expansion. So, for the wrong reason, they might end up blocking it.  But here’s the point – if the bill passes, cap-and-trade, even just applicable to utilities, is in place. It’s expansion, then, is much easier.

And based on what? The garbage science produced by those above – “science” that is constantly being questioned and disproved. Do you suppose if the Democrats ram this bill through (as they did health care) in the face of this growing proof of the questionable science (and it becomes clear that utilities will raise their prices to offset the tax) even while more and more of the public becomes aware of that questionable science (see Germany), that it will be any more popular a bill than HCR?

~McQ


Once upon a time when dissent was the highest form of patriotism

A trip down memory lane for those who seem to forget when what is being condemned today as the actions of thugs and terrorists – in a different time and with a different cast – was once hailed as the highest form of patriotism. What it really points to is the fact that both sides have their share of whack jobs and their existence doesn’t mean the majority of those unhappy with a situation share their beliefs or politics:

~McQ


Party, president and politics will cost Democrats in November

Howard Fineman opens his latest Newsweek article with this:

A Democratic senator I can’t name, who reluctantly voted for the health-care bill out of loyalty to his party and his admiration for Barack Obama, privately complained to me that the measure was political folly, in part because of the way it goes into effect: some taxes first, most benefits later, and rate hikes by insurance companies in between.

So, there it is – America, screwed by slavish loyalty to party and president.  And the people?  Well this was about politics, pure and simple, as this unnamed Senator admits.  And only now he realizes the political folly – he and the party are screwed.

Pardon me if I don’t shed a tear.

The bill remains hugely unpopular, the people remain very uneasy and they are very aware of the fact that they were totally and unequivocally ignored while being fed absolute BS to justify this power grab:

Brown won in Massachusetts for a reason. The Democrats had failed to make their case for this reform to the American public. They pressed the case for some sort of reform, but that was easy: the country was already there. What the country dislikes is this particular bill, and the Democrats, intent on arguing among themselves, barely even tried to change its mind.

People struggle to understand how extending health insurance to 32 million Americans, at a cost of a trillion dollars over ten years, can be a deficit-reducing measure. If cuts in Medicare will pay for half of that outlay, as the plan intends, they struggle to see how the quality of Medicare’s services can be maintained–let alone improved, as Pelosi said again in her speech on Sunday. The CBO notwithstanding, the public is right not to believe these claims.

And that’s from a guy who was pleased the legislation passed.  He thought it about time that the US joined the rest of the world in their rationed medical misery.

It’s a turkey and even Fineman knows it. 2/3rds in a USA Today poll say the bill goes too far.  Tell me again there’s no market for repeal or, if not total repeal, drastic changes in the bill.

Party, president and politics were the three priorities that were put in front of the people.  In November the people have their say about those priorities.  And I think it should be clear to those who voted for it, despite all their happy talk about how wonderful this is, that they’re going to pay.

And that brings me to the latest nonsense passing as punditry – that by passing this Obama has increased his prestige and power.  Maybe among Democrats – but among the rest of us, as poll after poll indicate, not so much.  Obama’s made it abundantly clear through out this process that he’s not a man to be trusted, that he’s a pure partisan party hack who purposely alienated the opposing party and that he talks out of both sides of his mouth. He used every bit of his political capital to pass a health care monstrosity.  Like the country he’s broke and he still hasn’t made the sale where it matters most.  It is clear that during all of this, he and the Democrats have lost the independent voters who were so critical to their rise to power and they’re most likely not coming back. And he’s somehow “increased” his power and prestige?

With a result like that, I’d hate to see him “decrease” it.

~McQ